(5 Minute Read)
He was abandoned as a child. His whole life, he believed that his parents didn’t want him. After 6 months, he dropped out of college. He built a multi-million-dollar company and got fired from it. He experienced set back after set back only to lead him to greatness. This was the life of Steve Jobs.
There is a common misconception going around that traumatic experiences destroy people when in-fact the opposite is true. This predates back to the early 20th century when mental illness and mental well-being were considered taboo. Only the worst cases would visit the doctor (paranoids, schizophrenics, suicidals). It was not until recently that scientists found that traumatic experiences can lead to a better life.
Growth From Discomfort
There is no avoiding it, everyone goes through traumatic experiences at some point in life. That’s just a fact. Whether it is losing a loved one, having a near-death experience, things can happen. New research out of the University of North Carolina has found that 90% of people who go through traumatic experiences, gain a substantial benefit from it in the long run.
Traumatic experiences are not easy. They are devastating mentally, physically, and emotionally. They remind us that life is short, and to not take anything for granted but it can also be used a launchpad into bigger and better things in life.
Think of it like a hurricane. Recently we just watched many areas in the U.S. get destroyed to pieces from the force of mother nature. Homes crumbled, buildings collapsed, and people were left stranded. Now that the event is over and we are in the rebuilding phase, these cities will create far more resilient infrastructure so that if the event were to happen again, they would be prepared.
Now compare this to your life. After a traumatic event, you have two options:
1) Let it destroy you internally and never recover
2) Learn, recognize, and grow from this experience after
As humans, we are creatures of survival. It is engrained in our DNA to survive. Traumatic events are distinguishable points along our life. It is the story that you create around them that determines your future.
It is normal to go through the initial pain, suffering, and anguish. Traumatic experiences are never easy. Sometimes the pain can last a month, a year, or even a decade. You will travel to the darkest areas of your mind. Areas that you will never want to visit again but what’s most important is the story you create after the pain has numbed.
This is where growth starts:
1) A New Lease on Life
It’s not about whether you deserved this event to happen to you. Nobody deserves to suffer through a traumatic experience but you will gain a new appreciation for life through it. You will recognize that nothing in life is permanent which is why you need to take full advantage of it while you have it. Traumatic experiences will clarify what matters and what doesn’t in your life.
2) External Not Internal
Never hold it in. Don’t harbor those feelings because they will only grow inside you. To let them out is to set them free. Talk to your support system. Only then will you begin to see your traumatic experience a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Transmute those powerful emotions of pain into that of passion and motivation.
It’ll never be easy at the start, but it will be 100% worth it in the end. Everything that you go through in life is an experience, it is how you perceive and grow from those experiences that determine what lays ahead. You can’t change the past and you can’t determine the future, but you always have full control of the present moment. Life is given in the now. Take full advantage of it. It can be a wonderful ride if you allow it to be. The only thing that you can be certain of is that this ride will end, you just don’t know when…